New releases 10/17/17

Top Hits
Girls Trip (comedy, Queen Latifah. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 71. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “As in the recent ‘Rough Night,’ the women in ‘Girls Trip’ are old college friends who, after going down their respective paths, are reuniting for better and, at times, for worse. In ‘Rough Night,’ the regulation naughtiness ends up with the women, who are mostly white, accidentally [uh-oh] killing a man. That isn’t on the menu for the black women in ‘Girls Trip,’ who, despite being fictional also exist in our world and so presumably would have a much harder time giggling their way out of spilling blood. That makes “Girls Trip” seem tamer than a movie like ‘Rough Night.’ But ‘Girls Trip’ is also funnier; it’s also more appealing because it knows that there’s more at stake existentially for women, and especially for black women, than out-grossing men.” Read more…)

Spider-Man: Homecoming (comic book action, Tom Holland. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 73. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “For its initial hour, ‘Homecoming’ moves along breezily enough, though sometimes with too much forced airiness. It works best when it sticks close to Peter and is content to be a light, good-natured story of a teenager who’s navigating through, and often badly fumbling, the competing demands of school, home and his emergent Spidey self. Mr. Holland looks and sounds more like a teenager than the actors who’ve previously suited up for this series, and he has fine support from a cast that includes Jacob Batalon as Peter’s best friend. Other good company includes Donald Glover, as a wrong-time, wrong-place criminal, and Martin Starr, who plays his teacher role with perfect deadpan timing.” Read more…)

Lady Macbeth (costume drama/romance, Florence Pugh. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 76. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “It takes a while to figure out who the title character in ‘Lady Macbeth’ really is. You may think you know her, that she’s the one who sleeps with death, the one pouring evil into her husband’s ear. Certainly the invocation of Shakespeare tips that there’s something dangerous about the lady of its house, an opaque beauty called Katherine [a very fine Florence Pugh]. Yet part of this movie’s ticklish nastiness is that at first it isn’t at all clear whether she will be the master of doom or its helpmate. At just 17, Katherine looks like the innocent flower, but something wicked this way comes seductively, then savagely.” Read more…)

The Book of Henry (family drama, Naomi Watts. Rotten Tomatoes: 21%. Metacritic: 31. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “I’m sure that I’ve forgotten some of the clichés and nonsense stuffed into ‘The Book of Henry,’ but here’s a partial list: a sensitive child genius; a comically dysfunctional family; an overwhelmed single mother; a sassy waitress with a tattoo on her breast played by a name comedian; children acting like parents; parents acting like children…” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Spider-Man: Homecoming

New Foreign DVDs
The Midwife (France, bittersweet drama, Catherine Deneuve. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 66. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Catherine Deneuve has played a wide variety of roles over the course of a career now spanning seven decades. But despite her exemplary range, many American viewers maintain an image of her as an aloof, exquisite, possibly imperious, possibly enigmatic beauty. This is largely because she looks like, well, Catherine Deneuve. The woman can’t help it. Even when portraying the needy, nearly shambolic Béatrice in ‘The Midwife,’ Ms. Deneuve is capable of vibrating with an elegance that implies both hauteur and froideur.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Step (dance, education, inspiration, Baltimore. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 81. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “This documentary has a classic twinned narrative: The girls must get into college [that’s the school’s main goal], and there’s a big step competition coming up. ‘Step’ manages to tell both stories in under 90 minutes, with a city rived by the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody as its fraught backdrop.” Read more…)

Mondo Hollywood (1968, time capsule of weird Los Angeles in the 1960s)